SINCE the dawn of cinema and Méliès’ Trip to the Moon, movie makers have turned again and again to science-fiction authors for story ideas. Over a century later, the love affair is still going strong. Here is an overview of the latest projects.
20th Century Fox has just picked up the film rights to A.G. Riddle’s novel Departure, which is available for free online. The story opens with a plane crash in the English countryside, and the survivors step out into a different world than the one they departed from: a world in which they are all linked in the present, past and future.
Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg: Hollywood’s sci-fi veterans
Departure joins a long list of sci-fi projects in development for film and TV. This November, Ridley Scott will present The Martian, adapted from the novel by Andy Weir. Matt Damon stars in the title role as an astronaut who is accidentally stranded on the Red Planet by his fellow crew members. The actor is joined by an all-star cast including Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kristen Wiig, Sean Bean, Michael Pena, Donald Glover, Kate Mara and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Meanwhile, Spielberg has plans to bring Daniel H. Wilson’s Robocalypse to the big screen with the help of Chris Hemsworth, Anne Hathaway and Ben Whishaw. The director behind War of the Worlds, the 2005 adaptation of the H.G. Wells novel, is also on track to adapt Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One for Warner Bros.
Bryan Singer is working on Uprising, a feature based on the novel The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein, the author who also inspired Paul Verhoeven’s 1997 film Starship Troopers.
J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Nolan for the small screen
For the online platform Hulu, the director of the next Star Wars movie will adapt Stephen King’s 11/22/63 into a miniseries starring James Franco. The story centres on a teacher who travels through time to prevent the JFK assassination. Before that, J.J. Abrams will present Westworld, an HBO series in which Anthony Hopkins, Evan Rachel Wood and Ed Harris will play characters in a theme park unlike any other.
Jonathan Nolan, who collaborated with his brother Christopher on Interstellar among other films, wrote the screenplay for Westworld and is rumoured to be developing an adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation” series, also for HBO.
Not to be outdone, Amazon is getting in on the sci-fi series action with The Man in the High Castle, a series based on Philip K. Dick’s novel. Ridley Scott is producing.